Some interesting thoughts here. Ethnicity, language, religion, and race are not entirely independent variables. Traditional pagans won’t be surprised by that.
This particular discussion reminds me of something I often hear from Jewish friends — if go back just a few generations, you run into a solid wall of orthodoxy. The ancestors of modern Jews are never anything but Orthodox.
It’s the same for Christianity in the European diaspora, although not many people I know are willing to acknowledge it.
Ironically, the neo-paganism that draws on our European ethnicity, begins by discarding our actual ethnicity. Go to a Lutheran church in modern America and you’ll discover a big chunk of Germans and Scandinavians; the people whose ancestors in Europe were Lutherans. It works for other churches as well.
I might be a bit more sensitive to that because I belong to another culture that approaches being an ethno-religious group–the Mormons. Not that I’m a Mormon, but I’m not exactly not Mormon either. I prefer to call myself an Ethnic Mormon. Nearly all my close relatives are Mormon, and I grew up inside the “Zion Curtain” (the Intermountain West). But if Mormonism were really an ethnicity, I would have to count myself only 1/8 Mormon. It just happens, in my case, to be the pot everyone melts into.
- Masaman. “The Fine Line Between Religion and Ethnicity“. YouTube, Nov. 12, 2019.